Jardins de Bagatelle Eau de Toilette by Guerlain {Perfume Short - Express Perfume Review}

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"Exquisite", "exquisite" is the word to describe Jardins de Bagatelle. I was curious to test yet another one of the Guerlains in an eau de toilette version as they are in general much decried amongst perfumistas. Seeing this one in a package sent from France I decided to give it a go.

Jardins de Bagatelle was created in 1983 by Jean-Paul Guerlain and is described as a floral woodsy fragrance, a particularly apt description for the eau de toilette version which is indeed on the woody side. According to Jan Moran in Fabulous Fragrances II top notes are violet, bergamot, aldehydes, citron. Heart notes are orange blossom, tuberose, gardenia, magnolia, narcissus, orchid, ylang-ylang, jasmine, and muguet. Base notes are musk, cedarwood, vetiver, and patchouli; the perfume also most certainly contains orris....

Jardins de Bagatelle in eau de toilette betrays none of the harshness that unfortunately plagues the new edt version of Mitsouko. It offers what we are used to finding in a Guerlain that is the sensation of feeling a rich and sensual material with the palm of our hand substituting however our nose to do so. The first impression besides that of delicacy are ones of roundness and opulence, even in the lighter eau de toilette version.

The perfume unfolds at first by suggesting a spicy musky rose resting on a sensual animalic background of something even possibly racier than musk, civet, or its impression. The rose then turns more liquorishy as it becomes suffused with a sweet and juicy jasmine. In the eau de toilette version, the floralcy in general is more clearly counterbalanced by the woodsy notes of violet, iris, vetiver, cedarwood and patchouli. As the tuberose appears more prominently it is also made less exuberant thanks to the relative dryness of the woods. The fragrance then develops a characteristic and lasting impression of smelling like the contents of a bottle of sparkling Champagne in which a bouquet of narcotic and indolic flowers would have been put to macerate for the longest of time. It reminds me of what someone said once, that French perfumes are so characteristically successful and part of daily life because they are made to accompany food and blend harmoniously with the aromas of a meal. The soft powdery and dream-like drydown is scented with iris as well as being lightly sweetened by what seems to be dominant accents of Tonka, rather than vanilla.

Overall, the impression is one of great elegance. The perfume easily evokes a classically beautiful caryatid sculpture in a park, that of the Château de Bagatelle, a theme after which the flacon was designed with its motif of draped shoulders. If the edp version might suggest more centrally a garden in which luscious white flowers grow ready to enrapture the passers-by, the edt version makes you think more of the presence of nearby woods while remaining as suggestive of divine lushness and of its counterpart, human intoxication. 

Photo is from Okadi

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9 Comments | Leave a comment

  1. "the contents of a bottle of sparkling Champagne in which a bouquet of narcotic and indolic flowers would have been put to macerate for the longest of time."

    This is only one of your fabulous lines. I love your most thorough and nuanced reviews. You have sold me on this one. What do you think of Mahora/Mayotte?

  2. I have yet to try it, but will surely come around to that in the not-so-distant future, especially since you reminded me of it.

    I think you will adore this perfume, it has so many wonderful qualities and is so evocative of a rare garden of Eden. I think also that it's a happy fragrance.

    Do you want to believe in the good and the beautiful? Just try it and it will make you leave your earthly premises.

    My sample of edt was directly and recently gotten from a Guerlain store in Paris and is great. I hope that what one finds at online discounters will be the same.

  3. I'm in complete agreement !
    It was released when DH and I got married- I bought it on St. Barth's on our lune de miel...
    It's even lovely on brunettes, although I'm pretty certain it was originally intended for blondes...

  4. I am not surprised there is a connection to your wedding; it would appear to be a quintessential wedding fragrance, innocent, pure, and voluptuous.

  5. Dear Marie-Helene, I am so grateful to find such an exceptional review of Jardins de Bagatelle. You are the only blog that has reviewed it that I can find, and so beautifully. I've recently started writing for Perfume Critic and am thinking of reviewing this fragrance. I feel that it is the first time that I "understand" Guerlain. Luca Turin did not like this, and I am far more inclined to agree with you! Thank you for the review. Sincerely, Sands

  6. I am also so glad to see a wonderful review of this fragrance. I've worn this since it came out in the 80's....I had pretty good taste for a teenager! Jardins always makes me feel astoundingly confident & beautiful like a perfect summer day. I don't wear it all the time, but when I do it's just transformative. I always have a bottle of this in my drawer. I've also noticed that this one doesn't get reviewed so often, which is a real shame because it is a dazzling fragrance. I think it often gets overlooked by some of Guerlains others because it's not really like the others. Your review does it real justice, and I hope it encourages more women to seek it out.

  7. Thank you for your kind words.

    It is a wonderful fragrance and I hope that it will continue to bring you happiness, as well as to others, as it is well capable of it.

  8. For a long time I was yet to find my "own" Guerlain... I just couldn't find any of their Classic scents to suit my senses... Of course I love Insolence and some Allegorias for the summer, but I wanted to "touch" the real Guerlain too. Shalimar is a big no-no to me, I do not like it at all, to me (sorry fans!) it smells like a toilet refreshner from the 30's, raw, synthetic lemon and a cheap vanilla - nothing else on me. I do not like Samsara, it is waaaay too spicy, it smells deliscious in the beginning then makes me sick. I am not sure about Mitsouko... Then at one of the stores with some clothing and perfumes, they were selling Jardin de Bagatelle EDT. They were selling it for 29.00 and the lady said if I bought it right away, she'd give it to me for 25 dollars. It was the only bottle left, the box was in a bad shape. I took it and I absolutely loved it! Yes, this is my Classy Guerlain!!! A beautiful, full of life, full of flowers and full of sunshine fragrance! It is one of those perfumes they used to make long time ago, You just put a little bit on Your neck (yes it is EDT but like I said very lasting comparing to todays fragrances) and behind Your ears and it will not be too overwhelming - but of course will last for hours. It will start with beautiful top notes, flowers and some greens, it will beautifully bloom on Your skin as it reaches it's heart notes, and it will seduce You with it's gorgeous drydown. Stunning!

  9. I bought this while without my normal scent, Chanel 22, and living abroad. I bought it as a treat, and it is now my favourite scent. It is romantic and not as heavy as Chanel 22, although I still like it, too. I find Jardins de bagatelle a beautiful fragrance, and I wear it still, today.


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